I know, it’s August, not a time of year you’d normally associate with warm, comforting dishes such as this. However, it’s August in Ireland, it’s wet, grey and cold making comfort food totally acceptable.
Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, if you use beef, it’s cottage pie, not shepherd’s. Apparently if you scatter breadcrumbs over the potato topping, you have made a Cumberland pie. This is a simple Shepherd’s Pie. Lamb, vegetables and a potato topping; simple, wholesome and hearty.
Now I must confess, when it comes to shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, I don’t follow any certain recipe, I look to see what veg I have available and that is what goes in. So this recipe is based on what I had available to me when it came to making this dish. It’s got lamb however, so it’s still a shepherd’s pie!!
This is a great make ahead dish too, just keep it in the fridge overnight and leave it out while you preheat your oven the following day and then cook it. You can make it even further ahead; I make the meat sauce and freeze that and just serve it with mash and green veg, more a deconstructed pie. In my experience buttery mash does not freeze well so I wouldn’t advise anybody to do that
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 courgette diced
500g minced lamb
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt & black pepper
250 ml veg stock
Approx 800g potatoes (I used a mix of roosters and sweet potatoes)
Melt a good helping (1-2 tbsp) butter in a large saucepan, add the veg, cover and stirring frequently cook for 10-15 minutes.
Add the mince and cook until all the meat is browned.
While the meat & veg are simmering, in a separate saucepan, melt the butter & stir in the flour, this is a roux. Slowly add the stock, stirring all the time, when all of the stock has been added, set the sauce aside for a minute.
Add the tomato puree, the Worcestershire sauce, seasoning & herbs to the meat and veg, then stir in the sauce.
Leave to simmer for 20 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cook your potatoes, cream them using as much butter as you like, a little milk and I like to add a good pinch of nutmeg too, it gives a wonderful flavour to mashed potatoes.
Turn off the heat under the meat sauce and transfer it to a casserole/pie dish. Top with the mashed potato, make sure it’s evenly distributed and then fluff it up with a fork.
Place the pie in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with some green veg and enjoy.